Southern Hunting Adventures New Zealand Frequently asked questions

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How do I hunt in New Zealand?
Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019
  • What game species can I hunt in New Zealand?
  • What time of year is the best to hunt in New Zealand?
  • Tell me more about New Zealand hunting seasons.
  • Do you offer free-range or game estate hunting?
  • Do you guide bow hunters?
  • Is New Zeland a good place to bring friends or family that don't hunt?
  • Do I need a visa to hunt in New Zealand?
  • What caliber of hunting rifle is best for New Zealand?
  • How do I bring a hunting firearm into New Zealand?
  • Do I need my own firearms to hunt in New Zealand?
  • Is ammunition available in New Zealand?
  • Do I need a license for New Zealand hunting?
  • What kind of weather can be expected while hunting in New Zealand?
  • What hunting gear will I need to bring to New Zealand?
  • How long are the rifle shots while hunting?
  • How far in advance do I need to book my New Zealand hunt?
  • How do I get to New Zealand?
  • How do things work at the Auckland airport?
  • Can I take game meat home?
  • Is there a good taxidermist available?

There are so many game animals to pursue in New Zealand - where should we begin? On the South Island, you can hunt big game animals, including red stag, Himalayan tahr, chamois, Fallow deer, elk (Wapiti), Pacific (Alpine) goat, Arapawa ram, whitetail deer, and wild boar (pig). South Island small game and varmint include wallaby, hare, rabbit, and possum.

The North Island of New Zealand has additional big game available in Sika deer, Rusa deer, and Sambar deer.

There are many bird species to hunt between the two big islands (three if you count Stuart Island off the southern end of the South Island). New Zealand bird hunting includes Merriam's turkey, Paradise duck, Grey duck, quail, Shoveler duck, peacock, pheasant, Mallard duck, chukar, Black swan, Pukeko, and Canadian geese.

With so many choices and hunts available, many hunters arrive with a list of game species they'd like to pursue. Southern Hunting Adventures offers popular combo hunting packages or can tailor a hunt or multi-species safari for you.

With so many species to chase, this is a tough question to answer. It's possible that the best big game hunting in New Zealand is from March through June (great for red stag, fallow buck, chamois, and tahr), but you can do really great hunting in New Zealand any time of the year.

We hunt different animals at different points in the calendar year. We get busier with big game hunting season mid-February (early NZ autumn) through July (late winter). Red stag and Fallow deer can be hunted throughout this season, with the red deer roar in mid-March to mid-April.  Bull tahr and chamois can also be hunted through the year, however their rut season, and when they have full winter capes, is May, June and July.

Both can be arranged, though we specialize in free-range and wilderness hunts.

Yes, we love hunting with bow hunters! Generally, we still spot-and-stalk hunt which is as challenging as it is fun. We don't use tree stands or hunt over feeders; archery shots will vary from 15-60 yards and typically be up- or downhill a bit.

The areas around Central Otago, Queenstown, Wanaka, Dunedin, and Te Anau are full of sights, outdoor activities, shopping, restaurants, walks/hikes, wine tasting, and more! Generally, guests and non-hunters have as much fun as our hardworking hunters do!

We're happy to help plan (and even guide) travel activities for the non-hunters in your group.

If you are coming to New Zealand for a holiday, you are unlikely to need to apply for a visa before you arrive. If you plan to work or study in New Zealand however, even for a short time, you will need to apply for a visa.

Effective 1 July 2019, the New Zealand government is charging an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) of $35.00 per person, payable upon arrival into New Zealand. This applies to most international visitors. You can see the details and what it's used for here.

Effective October 1 2019, some visitors can travel to New Zealand without a visa if they get an NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) before they travel. Please visit this link to obtain additional details and if necessary apply for your NZeTA.

Anything between a .243 and a .300 works well in New Zealand. If you would prefer using our guns over hauling your own, we ask that you let us know ahead of your arrival so that we can reserve a hunting rifle for you.

International hunters must first obtain a permit to bring any hunting firearms into New Zealand.

As part of obtaining the permit, you will be required to pay $25NZD application fee and apply for the permit at least one month (2 months is better) in advance of your visit. Your firearm must be on the approved firearms list for New Zealand and each hunter is allowed to bring four cases of ammunition.

Upon arrival, hunters are required to declare all firearms to New Zealand customs officials.

We can certainly send you all necessary paperwork well before you depart for New Zealand. Plan to pack only your rifle, though, as pistols are not allowed in New Zealand.

For those who would rather not travel with firearms, we have quality rifles and ammunition available for you at no additional cost. We typically require you to shoot at the range before beginning the hunt to ensure you are comfortable with our rifle and that you are shooting well with it.

Yes, but you'll be happier if you bring it with you. The selection isn't as good as you'd find at home, and ammunition is generally more expensive in New Zealand. For airport security, travel with your ammunition in its original package and separate from your hunting gun. Airlines typically limit passengers to eleven pounds of ammunition. Check with your airline or travel agent before leaving.

In general, New Zealand requires no licenses, fees or limited seasons for big game hunting. Once we know what species you're interested in - we can help sort any permitting required.

A license is required for waterfowl hunting and fishing. A one week fishing or bird license costs about $20 USD.

The weather on the South Island of New Zealand depends a lot on the place. For a lot of Central Otago and the nearby coasts, the weather can range from puffy-jacket-cold to shirtsleeve warm. If you're hunting during the autumn/early winter peak big game seasons, we can almost promise that you´ll experience a little bit of rain. Bring a bit of wet weather gear - just to be prepared.

Start with personal layers that will hold up well against any weather or the elements: merino or breathable synthetic tees, underwear, socks, and long underwear are perfect. Bring hunting boots with good grip/traction - but they'll need to be spotless to pass inspectors at the airport (New Zealand works hard to keep invasive species out). Binoculars (10x, 12x, or 15x are great) are helpful for spotting game - your guide will have a spotting scope so you don't need to bring one. A daypack/medium backpack, headlamp/flashlight, camera/phone, rain gear, hats, gloves, hunting clothes, and a versatile puffy jacket are all good bets.

We work hard to position hunters at distances and shots they are comfortable with. Often shots occur within 150 yards but please be comfortable and proficient at shooting up to 300 yards.

You can book last-minute or a few years ahead of your hunt. March and April is the red stag roar so if you'd like to hunt then - it's not a bad idea to contact us well in advance. Our guide team is talented and flexible so we're often able to accommodate short-notice hunting requests throughout the year.

From the United States, New Zealand is an overnight flight. Air New Zealand offers direct flights from Chicago and the West Coast to Auckland International Airport (North Island). From Auckland you will need to catch a short connecting flight (90 to 120 minutes) to Queenstown or Dunedin airports.

When you land in Auckland:

1. Land and deplane.

2. Proceed through Customs and Immigration with your completed Passenger Arrival Card that will be provided during your flight.

*Generally, passengers from the UK, New Zealand, Australia, US, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland and Netherlands can use the eGates for faster processing.

3. Proceed to baggage claim and the New Zealand Police counter to collect your gun (if you've traveled with a firearm).

4. Go through Biosecurity with your Passenger Arrival Card. Be certain that all of your hunting gear is clean to avoid fines or confiscation. Absolutely all food must be declared or you may have to discard it.

5. Follow the signs/green line (inter-terminal walkway) to the domestic terminal. It's a 10-minute walk or you can use the inter-terminal buses that depart every 15 minutes.

If you are bringing your firearm into the country, domestic flights require the removed bolt and ammunition to be in a bag separate from the firearm.

Please allow a minimum of 2 hours between your international flight and your domestic flight to Queenstown or Dunedin. Generally, there are regular flights on the hour if your connection is missed.

Most countries will allow you to bring meat home, certainly in the United States. Prepare to do an additional form or two at the airport when flying home and understand your country's requirements.

We will prepare your meat either chilled or frozen until you are ready to leave. If you plan to bring meat home we recommend bringing a small cooler with you that can fit inside your main bag, or you can take larger amounts up to 50 lbs as checked baggage.

It is probably most cost-efficient to have your hunting trophies mounted in your home country, however we are happy to assist you in arranging for mounting of your trophies in New Zealand. Taxidermist recommendations are available by request.

If you're an American hunter, it takes approximately 90 days for your trophies to arrive at your nearest designated Fish and Wildlife port in the United States. Bring your taxidermist information with you for the paperwork for exporting of your trophies after your hunt.

Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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